The School Site Council is an elected group of teachers, parents, classified employees, and students (at the high school level) who work with the principal to develop, review, evaluate and allocate funds for school improvement programs.
The councils are formed to make decisions about how state-allocated school improvement funds will be spent. Some councils, for instance, might use funds to develop a new math program, while others may want to hire a reading specialist. The idea behind the creation of the councils in the 1970s was that those most closely involved with the schools and students on a day-to-day basis could often make the best decisions about how schools needed to improve. How the councils actually operate varies greatly from school to school, but in general the School Site Council deals more with school policy and budgets than the school PTA or PTO does.
At some schools, the School Site Council generally defers to the principal’s judgments, while at others principals will ask their councils to help develop new programs or oversee major school change. Successful School Site Councils, regardless of their specific agendas, are more than a “rubber stamp” committee, and will always ask thoughtful and challenging questions.
School Site Council members, whether teachers, classified employees or parents, don’t just represent their own interests. They have an obligation to make decisions that will best serve the whole school community.
To find out more about the activities of your School Site Council, attend a meeting or talk to the school principal. If you’re interested in participating on the council, call the school secretary to find out how the selection process works at your school.
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